Looking towards Eastern Europe and there are a load of bands out there with very little Western attention, but occasionally a band will trip the switch and cause such a surge throughout the underground that they'll make the media stop sipping their coffee and latch on to the disturbance. The latest product from the farther side of Europe is Ukrainian Metallers Jinjer of whom bolt together elements of Groove Metal and Metalcore to make something heavier than you're last hangover.
Bassist Eugene obliged to take GMA and guide us through the world of Jinjer...
For those who do not know your band, could you please give a brief background of the band and what your band name means
"Well, talking about the music seems to be a bit ridiculous, it's like describing an image to a blind person. You have to listen to Jinjer to understand fully what we are. But if you insist I will say the following... you will definitely like Jinjer if you are open-minded and enjoy diversity in music.
As for the name. Well, it's just a name. Originally there was no real meaning behind it... you know, when parents name a child John they don't usually put anything into it, just a good name. Though later on fans found some meaning, namely associating it with a distorted guitar sound: "jin-jer-jin-jer"."
There seems to be an increase in female musicians over the years, do you feel that the stigma towards female musicians is still there or has it gone?
"It is still on, but it tuned the wrong way in my mind. Too many voiceless chicks started doing peep-shows on stage instead of music... personally I try to avoid being tagged “female-fronted”. I see no real sense in differing bands by the front person's gender... we'd rather pick bands by their talents and creativity"
How did you all become involved in music? How have your parents reacted to your choice of music?
"Well, I come from a musician's family. My father used to be a bassist. And he brought me up with old-school rock bands like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and others... at the same time my elder brother was a guitarist and he introduced me into punk and grunge. So my family took it normally when I formed my first metal band. Of course the others were not so lucky. I know that Eugene was suffering from his parents blames till the recent time. "
You just recently released your latest offering 'King Of Everything', can you tell us more about the album in terms of what it regards, how long it took to make, favourite songs etc?
"The album has a certain conception. We as humans were born free and happy. No attachments to religion, state, society... We are free to choose our way, to express ourselves, free to act as we want to (unless we harm one's existence). But once we were tricked by some "king", we were fooled and enslaved. According to the "King of Everything" they are several. Choose yours):
- time (Captain Clock)
- past and other individuals left behind (Just Another)
- censorship (Words of Wisdom)
- ideology (Sit, Stay, Roll Over & Under the Dom)
- money and power (Dip a Sail)
- personality itself (Pisces)
'I Speak Astronomy' was written as a total opposition to those "kings". It is ruled by physical laws which are natural.
In general we spent about 4-5 months writing all of the songs... we were quite limited in time. When we signed the contract we only had a few songs, we were about to release a short EP, but Napalm needed a full length album, minimum 40 minutes. So we had to compose 7-8 songs during a short time. But the band managed to accumulate all the energy, creativity and inspiration... to some extent it was positive pressure – we made a very sincere album, we didn't have time to work out the material for a year or so. We expressed what we had in us honestly.
My favourite songs are definitely 'Pisces' and 'I Speak Astronomy'... these are very private songs for me. In some ways these are my confessions.
Will you be undertaking a tour in support of the album? With the UK pulling out of the EU are you concerned it may hinder your chances at playing in the UK?
"It seems that for us it didn't make any change! We are out of the EU, anyway we have to deal with British visas, which are extremely complicated! But we will do our best to visit the UK, believe me."
Taking interest in the Ukrainian Metal scene, what is the current status of the scene? Is the scene still going strong? What challenges specific to the scene are there?
"The scene is growing and developing little by little. We've got several super-cool bands, like Megamass, Zlam, Space of Variations and Joncofy, they are able to kick ass, believe me. The biggest problem is audience... we just don't have people going to live shows. There are only 5-6 cities where it is possible to bring 400-500 to a gig, and maybe 2-3 more where we can have 150-200... and that's all for a country of 42,000,000 population. And of course there are not many good clubs and venues."
What plans have you got for the rest of the year and into early 2017? Have you got any greetings you wish to send out?
"We will tour non-stop till the end of 2017. This is out priority. We kindly send our regards to every British fan of Jinjer, stay strong, friends, one day we will hit the stage in your neighbourhood."
Possibly one of the more controversial interviews we have done, given the current crisis in the eastern half of The Ukraine.
Melancholic Orchestra are a duo who play Gothic Doom Metal in it's instrumental form, the band formed in Donetsk, The Ukraine in 2009 and to date have one demo and two albums out. The most recent album "Forest of Insomnia" was released online in August 2014 and features ten tracks.
GMA sat down with Viktor Chelgy and spoke about the Ukrainian Metal scene, including current problems and the lack of exposure alongside the band's history
Hi Viktor, could you give us a brief history behind Melancholic Orchestra?
Hi!!! The start of our creative path originated back in 2009, when we had a different name. It is not easy to determine the style, in fact we wrote songs in different genres ranging from Ambient to Gothic. But in early 2013, we decided to release a demo album and create it by using different styles, in fact it was an experimental release to see how our people and fans would react.
Since Melancholic Orchestra are from The Ukraine, could you give us an insight into the metal scene (places to gig, the scene history, problems faced there, etc)
Yes we are from The Ukraine, and we have a very difficult situation within the metal scene, especially in our hometown of Donetsk, rarely are there any concerts, the television channels do not broadcast or promote any metal bands, instead they mostly cover pop and rap, I find it difficult to even call it music.
The conflict between Russia and The Ukraine, how is this affecting the scene? Are there less gigs?
The conflict does not affect the scene because the music is not linked to the policies.
Melancholic Orchestra have just released their second album "Forest Of Insomnia", can you tell us the background behind it?
It was very hard work when recording and producing the album "Forest Of Insomnia", as there were technical issues. Currently we decided to take a break and start writing new material for the next album.
You play Gothic / Doom Metal, but of the instrumental kind, what made you choose this?
Basically it's just that this style is closer to us in spirit at present.
How did you get into playing music and who influences you?
I personally have been going long in the music scene, I work as a teacher at the music school. My colleague Vitaly also soon began to play music but only as a composer.
What can fans of Forest of Insomnia expect from you in the near future?
From us you can expect anything, so expect more experiments and good music
Are there any greetings you wish to send out to fans, friends, etc?
I would like to convey a message to all of the fans of our music, a huge hello and listen only to good music!!
Rhys, thanks for the interesting conversation, good luck to you!!